WESTERN Sahara's Petroleum Authority has accused Kosmos Energy of violating international law by awarding Fugro-Geoteam a contract for a major seismic survey in Morocco 's Southern Provinces, writes Barry Morgan. Upstream, 23 January 2009.
WESTERN Sahara's Petroleum Authority has accused Kosmos Energy of violating international law by awarding Fugro-Geoteam a contract for a major seismic survey in Morocco 's Southern Provinces, writes Barry Morgan.
Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) presidential advisor and Sahrawi Petroleum Authority head Emhamed Khadad said he had written before to express outrage at the production sharing contract that Kosmos signed with Rabat in 2006, despite the United Nations not recognising Morocco as the administering power in Western Sahara .
Khadad said he received no response at that time but sought to stress once more that only the SADR had the right to regulate exploration and production or authorise marine scientific research.
In a letter dated 15 January addressed to Kosmos chief executive James Mussleman and copied to Fugro-Geoteam managing director Hans Meyer, Khadad formally warned that the SADR reserved the right to "use all available means including legal avenues to prevent and seek reparation in respect of unauthorised activities" carried out by Kosmos in Western Sahara.
Fugro deployed the newbuild seismic vessel Geo Caribbean for the job on its maiden voyage.
Last week, Norway-based Fugro-Geoteam's Dutch parent company indicated to local media that it had every intention of completing the Kosmos contract, located in deep water "more than 100 miles" (160 kilometres) off Western Sahara .
In 2004, Fugro shot seismic for Kerr-McGee's Boujdour permit off Western Sahara , earning a similar rebuke.
The Norwegian Petroleum Fund's Ethical Council considered such activity would strengthen Rabat 's claim to sovereignty and consequently divested from Kerr-McGee.
Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the three different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
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